March 7th – March 10th served as a huge birthday party in Florida for several worthy honorees; the Porsche 911, The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the Ford GT40 Racing Program and the Lamborghini marque. The 18th Annual Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance set the stage to celebrate these two racing giants in grand fashion.
Porsche’s flagship sports car was introduced in the autumn of 1963 at the Frankfurt Auto Salon and has moved the brand to sales success while becoming known as one of the most successful race cars in history. Special Porsche 911s on display include the 1971 911 STR Safari, the 1973 Brumos Porsche 911 Carrera RSR that won the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 1984 Paris-Dakar Porsche 911 4×4.
An All-Star panel was on hand to discuss the car’s history as well as their reflections and memories with it. This cavalcade of stars include: Peter Schultz, president of Porsche AG from 1981-86; Alwin Springer, co-founder of a specialized Porsche tuning shop; Harm Lagaay, Porsche AG director of design; The legendary Hurley Haywood, Porsche endurance-race driver; Jack Atkinson, crew chief of the 1973-1980 Peter Gregg Brumos Porsche race team; Vic Elford, Porsche sports car driver; Jeff Zwart, the seven-time Pikes Peak Hillclimb champion; and Patrick Long, Porsche’s only American factory driver. Bob Varsha of Speed TV served as moderator.
The Ford GT40 made its Le Mans racing debut June 21, 1964. But it took two years to achieve victory at the world’s most famous endurance race. On June 18, 1966, Ford’s huge investment paid off with a three-car sweep of the race that mattered most to company chief, Henry Ford II, which was also revenge for spurning Ford’s advances. Through turmoil from outside and within, the Ford GT40 won Le Mans four times in succession: 1966 through 1969. The Ford GT40 class was marked by the wonderful gathering of 14 race cars at the far end of the show field, highlighted by chassis number 1075 that won overall at Le Mans in Ys 1968 and 1969. The GT40 festivities also included fascinating tales spun by racing greats Dan Gurney, David Hobbs and Brian Redman, among others.
Ed Cole, Zora Arkus-Duntov, Bill Mitchell, and others put their noses to the grindstone to create a car that would help the Corvette name flourish. The first-ever production Corvette coupe, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray took the design world and turned it on its ear. Though not as obvious as the car’s radical styling, the new chassis and independent rear suspension Duntov created for Sting Ray was just as important to the Sting Ray’s success. The Corvette seminar featured Ed Welburn, Vice President Global Design General Motors, and 1963 Sting Ray designer Peter Brock.
Because of the strong bond that has always existed between the company and the Emilia-Romagna region, Lamborghini funded its participation in the event directly, and channeled 10-percent of the proceeds from various participation and sponsorship fees into a fund for rebuilding social and cultural centers in the earthquake-affected area of Emilia, conscious of the need to reach out to the region which helped create the legend. The company showed off the stunning 1968 Lamborghini Miura Roadster it presented at the Brussels Auto Show of the same year. Metallic blue paint job and with Valentino Balboni and company surrounding it, it just doesn’t get any more Lamborghini than that.
The 2013 Best of Show Awards went to a 1936 Duesenberg SJ and a 1968 Ford GT40, entered by the Rocky Mountain Collection. A selection of Sam Posey’s racers, the race cars of Harry Miller and the motorcycles of Ducati were present in all their glory. Both Gooding & Co. and RM Auctions had impressive consignments cross the block at Amelia. A 1954 Pegaso Z-102 Series II Cabriolet by Saoutchik changed hands for a meager $700,000 (RM) while the hammer dropped at 2.5 million dollars on a 1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Semi-Le Mans Tourer (Gooding).
The Amelia Island Concours D’ Elegance always attracts a wide range of enthusiasts eager to dust off their vehicles after winter hibernation, this year’s fête attracted an estimated crowd of 24,000 and approximately 300 vehicles were on display. It is single-handedly the biggest one day automotive event in the country and a paradise to car enthusiasts of all ages.
[Source: Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance]